A reputation severely tarnished in my eyes
EDDIE Davies says he now has “the best job in the world” watching Wanderers from the directors’ box, rather than bankrolling the club.
After handing over power last year in a deal the Little Lever-born businessman claims wrote off £170million, he was made honorary life president at the Macron.
He continues to watch every home game and has been hugely impressed by the start Phil Parkinson has made in the dugout.
Freed from the financial obligations, Davies says he is enjoying his new ambassadorial position.
“The role has changed, as I explained to Ken Anderson and Dean Holdsworth, in so much as I’ve got one of the best jobs in football now because I get all the benefits of being a life president and none of the disadvantages of being an owner,” he said.
The downside to his previous position as owner?
“Having to put loads of money in.”
Davies was majority shareholder at Wanderers for 13 years, 11 of which were spent in the Premier League.
During his efforts to sell the club in 2015 he announced the vast loan which the club had accrued during his time as owner would be wiped clean – sparking a wave of gratitude from Bolton fans.
The takeover process served to tarnish that goodwill, however, with a deal not agreed until 10 minutes before the club would have been forced to file for voluntary administration in the High Court.
Financial and administrative problems inherited by Anderson and Holdsworth have made life difficult for the new ownership – the extent of which could soon be revealed in all its gory detail when the overdue accounts for 2015 are published at Companies House.
But Davies said the motivation not to allow the club to slip into administration was done with Wanderers’ historical standing in mind.
“There was a lot of argument saying it would be better if they went into administration, because we were going down anyhow and the points lost wouldn’t have made such a difference. But from an integrity point of view I wasn’t prepared to let that happen.”
Davies confirmed the amount of money written off on the sale of Wanderers, as documented in Burnden Leisure’s financial accounts, was around £170million.
Bolton chairman Ken Anderson claimed recently Davies was “unlikely” to call in a £15m loan left in the club, the fee used only as an accounting measure.
But while administration may have cleared the few external creditors – most of whom were small local businesses – and potentially opened the club up to a host of different ownership possibilities, Davies reckons the stigma attached would have been too much to bear.
“There was no choice, really, because I wasn’t going to get much back in administration,” he added in a rare interview with TalkSport radio station. “That was the hit I took really.
“It (administration) goes down in history and you don’t really want that on the club’s record.”
Asked on his thoughts of the criticism he received during the takeover process, during which the club struggled to pay staff and players on time, he added: “You can’t please all the people, all the time can you?”
Parkinson’s stabilising influence on Wanderers has also been met with enthusiasm from Davies, who is confident a return to the Championship is possible this season.
“Phil is a great manager getting great results and I have got every confidence in his ability to see us promoted,” he said.
“I think they’ve a good chance of getting promotion this season, then do a bit of consolidating again, and then push for the Premier League.
“That’s the objective for all of us in the club, to be there again.
“I don’t think we’ve got a timescale really, we’re more looking at promotion from this league.
“We have to jump that hurdle first.”
Davies shunned the limelight during the vast majority of his tenure as owner at Wanderers, leaving late chairman Phil Gartside to be the public face.
“It’s just my natural mode of rest really, I’m not a self-publicist at all.
“I just like to get my head down and get on with the job,” he added.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]